7 Steps to Becoming a Category Detective & Identifying Sales

Identifying Profitable Category Sales Opportunities

7 Steps to Identifying Profitable Category Sales Opportunities – ‘The Detective’ is about how you can more easily wade through the considerable amount of category data available today, the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’ to identify the opportunities that you want.

Adopting a process will help and maybe there are some learnings from our friends in the force – ‘The Detective’. These 7 steps will help you avoid going down ‘rabbit holes’, save you time, and help you arrive at the most valuable sales opportunities.

Here are our 7 Steps to Identifying Profitable Category Sales Opportunities using ‘The Detective’ method:

1. Create a Description

Write down a few words for yourself about what you want to find, e.g. ‘Sales opportunities for my business valued at +£1.3m per year, deliverable within 3 months’.

2. Identify the Key Suspects

Gather the top-line evidence to understand where the most likely suspects will be, e.g. Subcategory market share is 12.6% less than our overall market share.

3. Interrogate the Suspects

Drill-down into your top 10 ‘Key Suspects’, e.g. When did the trend begin? What affects the trend? What other supermarkets have had a similar problem?

4. Know the Motives

Turn the observations above, in step 3, into insights, e.g. Observation – Sales reduce by 10% in August, Insight – Because a competitor begins their biggest promotion.


5. The Haul

Know how much each key suspect is worth, e.g. The opportunity is valued at £0.6m for the retailer for the remainder of this year and £0.9m for the whole of next year.

6. Weigh-up the Evidence

Using all the observations and insights that you have gathered about the suspects recommend steps to apprehend them, and prioritise accordingly on a Boston Matrix.

7. Convince the Jury

You’ve spent a long time understanding the suspect – Now spend a good amount of time convincing the jury, i.e. Do they like graphs? A thorough explanation of the journey? How did you succeed with them in the past? (Don’t start with PowerPoint!).

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